Whole lotta love gets us through
'It takes a lot of love, respect and kindness,' is Lesley Whyatt's recipe for 60 years of wedded bliss.
Mrs Whyatt and her husband Henry celebrated the milestone with a family gathering on Thursday, 60 years to the day after they were married in the North Ipswich Church of England.
The pair spent most of their lives in Ipswich, with Mrs Whyatt growing up in Silkstone, including her primary school education at Silkstone State School.
Born on March 1, 1940, Mrs Whyatt, like many of her generation, left school after Year 7, going to work in the North Ipswich Woollen Mills.
"I worked there for a while, then I got a job at The Metro restaurant. It was a lovely place, I was paid more money and it was not as dirty as the mills,” Mrs Whyatt said.
A keen basketball and tennis player in her youth, Mrs Whyatt also enjoyed dancing to local rock and roll bands of the era.
"I loved going to the dances, we would go all around town, to the Trades Hall and the old Town Hall, they were my favourites, but there were lots of dances on all over town.”
Henry Whyatt was actually born in Nambour in 1936, on January 15, one of 13 children, the family moved to Kelly's Flat at North Ipswich when he was young.
"I went to school at Tivoli State School, until the end of Year 7, when I went to work on a farm at Emu Creek in the Brisbane Valley, near Colinton,” Mr Whyatt said.
A keen motorcyclist, Mr Whyatt began riding home on weekends, leading to his first meeting with Lesley.
"I was at the Ipswich pool with a friend, and she wanted me to go back to her place, but I needed a lift, so she asked Henry to give me a lift,” Mrs Whyatt said.
A few weeks later, Lesley and her friend saw Henry, with his head covered in bandages, and they went to see what had happened.
"He had crashed into a stray cow riding home from work, and was in Kilcoy Hospital for a week in a coma, he came home to recover.”
From there, the relationship blossomed, and the two became inseparable.
Marriage followed in December 1956, but not before Henry had another scrape or two.
"I was called up for my three months National Service, I was based at Wacol, when a tree fell on me, putting me into Yeronga Military Hospital, and then, just before our wedding, I was working on the bridge over the Bremer at Dinmore, when a piling fell on me and broke my leg,” Mr Whyatt said.
This was while working as a welder, he was in a dinghy under the bridge, when an old piling fell over, crashing through the boat and breaking his leg.
"I turned up to the rehearsal on crutches, Lesley wasn't happy.”
After returning to work, Henry worked on the Somerset Dam for a time, and was even invited to the official opening.
"A bit later I joined Monier Pre-Stressed at Darra, and worked as a welder on the Centenary Bridge, the Bribie Island Bridge and the Isle of Capri bridge on the Gold Coast.”
With five children, Mrs Whyatt was a stay-at-home mother, raising the family.
"I loved it, being there to greet the children as they came home and listen to how their day was,” Mrs Whyatt said.
After moving to Darra, the Whyatts eventually moved to Bundamba, where they still live.
Looking back, the Whyatts said they had enjoyed life, despite its ups and downs, including losing many personal belongings to floods, which included all their wedding photos.
"We only have one, that our son restored, we lost the rest in floods,” Mrs Whyatt said.